There’s no doubt that modern digital cameras have made it much simpler to capture the memories and key moment that we want to keep forever. Not that we need to remember to take the camera with us wherever we go. Many mobile phones, tablets or other devices which have become part of our everyday lives are capable of producing images which would have tested the limits of expensive specialist photographic equipment only a decade or so ago.
It’s become increasingly easy to download, tweak and improve the basic image on our computer screen adding effects or correcting slight imperfections to achieve a perfect image every time. What a pity, then, that all too often these superbly captured special moments remain virtual images, stored on hard drives or “memory sticks” but somehow never make it to the much more user-friendly printed format that was the norm for users of old fashioned 35mm cameras – the photographic print.
It’s possible, of course, to print photographs using a standard home laser or inkjet printer but even with a high resolution printer, the result will never be as good as a specialist machine using photographic paper to produce an image which will last for years. Such machines aren’t terribly expensive – generally available for around £50-£75. You’ll need to buy the consumables such as paper and ink too, but even taking these into account, the average price for a 5”x7” print works out at something less than 10 pence.
If you’re not ready to take the plunge with home printing, there are a number of professional printing companies offering a service, such as Quick Label where you can buy a digital label printer. Some high street shops offer do-it-yourself printing machines which will accept your flash drive “memory stick” and deliver your selected images in seconds. Alternatively, a number of service providers invite you to upload your images via their website and they’ll return the prints a few days later by post. Some can even offer an enhancement service, removing imperfections such as “red-eye” or poor contrast. For your very best images, you could consider a really large image, maybe printed to a “canvas” for framing.
Computers are great for storing and accessing images, but for the ones you want to look at again and again, how much better to be able to hold the memory in your hand. In some respects, old technology still wins out.